Solidarity 510, 12 June 2019

Letters

Missing the mark on Willsman
Sean Matgamna’s piece in Solidarity 509 “A victim of panic” appears to miss the mark. Sean says that Pete Willsman “Possibly he gives credence to some form of ‘Jewish Conspiracy’ theory”. This underplays what Willsman said and in doing so seems to excuse him as a fool rather than someone who knows what they think. I would give Willsman more respect than that.

Labour after Peterborough

Author

Martin Thomas

Labour’s victory in the 6 June Peterborough by-election has reduced the threat of a right-wing challenge to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership challenge. The Peterborough result was won by a vigorous and well-resourced campaign. But it gives no grounds for complacency.

The left in Israel

Maya Ilany is the deputy director of Yachad, which campaigns for a two-state settlement to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Eric Lee is the editor of LabourStart, and when living in Israel in the 1990s ran the BibiWatch website. They participated in a panel on “the future of the Israeli left” at Ideas for Freedom 2019, alongside Tom Harris. Maya and Eric spoke to Solidarity (in their personal capacities) about the context for the discussion.

There’s still a majority for two states

Making space for diversity

Judy Singer, the writer who coined the term “neurodiversity”, will be speaking at Ideas for Freedom, 22-23 June, about how society can and should make more and better space for the “neuro-divergent”. She talked with Martin Thomas from Solidarity about some of the issues.

This is not a verbatim transcript of the conversation, but a summary checked with Judy.

Corbyn is reactionary on Europe

Author

Sean Matgamna

Labour’s victory in the Peterborough by-election on 6 June was of course good news. It was also bad news. It seemed to vindicate the Labour leadership’s political cloak-work and shilly-shallying on the EU.

How not to quote Lenin

Author

John Ryan

“The October Revolution is an imperishable page in the history of the great movements of the masses to take their destiny into their own hands that began with the French Revolution.

“It was the second stage of the elemental upsurge of the Russian masses that began in February.

Bridgend: fight the closure!

On 6 June, Ford said it would close its Bridgend engine plant in 2020. Steve Turner, assistant general secretary of the Unite trade union, declared: “Unite representatives across all of Ford’s UK sites have previously stated if any plant in the UK is faced with closure or compulsory redundancies that they would all move to a ballot for industrial action.

IWGB surveys its work

Author

Zack, delegate to IWGB AGM

The Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB), a seven-year-old small union of mostly low-paid, often precarious, and disproportionately migrant workers, had its union-wide AGM on Saturday 8 June.

The IWGB, with almost 5,000 members now, is known for a combative and creative approach to fighting for its members, with loud, disruptive and sometimes secret protests, flash-occupations, and the like. IWGB ‘s ten “branches” — what in many UK unions might be called “sections”, although with considerably greater autonomy from the central union — gave reports.

Outsourced workers’ strikes spread

Author

John Moloney, PCS Assistant General Secretary (in a personal capacity)

Outsourced workers’ disputes in the civil service are spreading. Cleaners, porters, and maintenance workers employed by the contractor Interserve at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office began a five day strike on 10 June.

Tube prepares to ballot

Author

Ollie Moore

Tube union RMT is preparing to ballot its members across London Underground for industrial action, after talks with LU bosses over pay and conditions reached a dead end. Directly-employed Tube workers’ pay deal expired in April, with all four unions which organised on LU submitting claims which included the demand for a 32-hour week (most Tube workers currently work 35 or 36-hour contractual weeks). LU has refused to engage with these demands, offering first a 2.5% pay increase, then a two-year deal with RPI+0.1% and RPI+0.2% pay increases.

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